Chinese New Year (CNY) is just a few days away (23 January, Mon), have you bought your bak kwa (Chinese bbq pork jerky;rougan; long yoke; 肉干) yet? By this time, there will be long queues at popular bak kwa stores and the prices will be sky high (at least S$40 per kg). I have always hated queuing so I almost never buy bak kwa during the festive season anymore.
This year, I experimented with making my own bak kwa and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. I will definitely be making a few more batches before CNY. The ingredients are really cheap (just minced pork and seasonings) and I am using the oven to do the grilling. The quantity listed below will fit one standard oven tray, but feel free to make several batches at a time according to your needs and oven size. As long as you have the proper set-up and equipment, believe me that making your own home-made bak kwa is actually a breeze to pull off!
Bak Kwa Recipe (Chinese Pork Jerky) (Step-by-Step)
Combine minced pork and seasonings in a deep plate. Mix the ingredients with the back of a spoon in a circular motion, until the red hue is even; this will take several minutes. The resultant mixture will have a gluey consistency. Wrap plate with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
Place parchment paper on a flat surface and spread the meat mixture one layer as thin as possible (about 5mm) with the back of a spoon.
Align the wire mesh directly over the meat mixture and invert it.
Carefully peel away the parchment paper.
Place the wire mesh with the meat mixture on top of an oven wire-rack with a tray beneath it. Bake the bak kwa at low heat for 20 minutes to dry the meat, then increase the oven heat and bake for 12 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, remove wire rack and transfer bak kwa to chopping board. Use a pizza cutter or pair of kitchen scissors to cut bak kwa to desired shapes and sizes.
Return bak kwa pieces to wire rack, the other side up (the side with the wire grill lines), and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to char slightly. Cool on wire rack and store in air-tight container.